Panthers bring on first in-state game for softball

Isaac Hunt

Iowa State (14-19, 0-3 Big 12) will be in Cedar Falls, Iowa to play its first in-state opponent of the season.

The ISU softball team played Northern Iowa (13-19) this winter in an exhibition game winning 6-3, but fell to them last season with an 8-0 loss.

“Any time we play an instate rival everyone gets excited to play,” said coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler.

With a team of five native Iowans and 13 players who came from out of state many of the Cyclones did not grow up knowing these teams, but understand what is at stake.

“They get it,” said Jennifer Drahozal, outfielder from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “Especially with Iowa. But with UNI you still want to win to be the best in state.”

Senior and California-native Tori Torrescano, has been at Iowa State long enough know there is a rivalry, but more than one game will determine which team is the best.

Even though Torrescano admits the team gets more excited for the Iowa game they still have a challenge and want to get the best of every team in the state.

“You want to be the best in the state,” Torrescano said. “You always want to beat them and really beat them. Everybody gets really excited, especially the Iowa kids.”

Where there are sports there are fans. And in any in-state battle the fans are going to be even more fanatic.

“When we go across the state you can see all the different fans,” Torrescano said. “There is a lot of trash talking so it’s nice to win.”

One game series break up conference play

The Iowa State and Northern Iowa matchup comes between two series of Big 12 opponents for the ISU softball team.

After finishing three games against Baylor on Saturday Iowa State will play Northern Iowa on Wednesday followed by a three game series with Oklahoma State.

Following that series two games against Drake come between Oklahoma State and Texas, two Missouri-Kansas City games are between Texas and Texas Tech.

In between the Texas Tech and Oklahoma series Iowa State will travel to Minnesota for a two game stint, and Iowa will interrupt the Oklahoma and Kansas series.

These games scattered throughout conference play may seem odd to others, but it is just normal at Iowa State.

“That’s just the way it is,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “We travel so much that those games are going to be scheduled out there just so we can play home games. We’ve never known any different.

“Sometimes it’s nice. You come home, have Monday off, practice Tuesday, and play Wednesday, practice or travel Thursday, then play on Friday, Saturday and Sunday again so it’s kind of a nice tune up in the middle of the week.”

These games make up over 14 percent of the Cyclones’ schedule so they don’t go by unnoticed.

“They add up so they are really big,” Torrescano said. “Now that we are done with tournament play and we only have conference and a few single games here and there it is important to pick up these wins from teams that we should pick them up from.”

Iowa State will play Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.